Leaving Certificate victims of 2013, I am going to let you in on a little secret. Unfortunately in the context of Irish universities at least, the CAO points do, and always will matter.

However, once they land you in your chosen college, it’s almost one hundred per cent possible to move to any course you would prefer, providing you meet (or in some cases are slightly above) the minimum points requirement.  However, there is one vital point to make about this: if you realise you’ve picked a course that sounded great in the prospectus, but in practice you’ve realised that you loathe, ensure at all costs that you make the switch before Christmas.

Getting a bit too grande for my zapatos after receiving an A1 in the mocks, I made the bizarre choice of placing Spanish at the top of my CAO choices. Here’s a nugget of handy advice that I wish someone had taken pity on me and divulged at the time: studying a language in university is based not on achieving fluency (which after 8 years of stubborn attempts, only happened once I spent a summer working as an au pair in Tenerife), but instead on 14th century literature from that country and your ability to write an essay about it in English.

Realising in horror that there were actual Spaniards in my class who couldn’t decipher it either, it became clear a few months in that I wanted to switch course. But in my stupidity, I thought that it would be a better idea to stick the year out and move in September so that I wouldn’t miss an entire semester of the course I wanted to do.

When I met with my tutor in April, being from the department I wished to move to, she insisted that it wouldn’t be a problem to secure a place in the incoming class. However, when September rolled around, the course I wanted to do went up to the number of points I had received in my Leaving Cert and then went to random selection.

Guess who wasn’t picked? Me, who could have easily just moved the previous November. Moral of the story: if you are not enjoying the course you picked, meet with your tutor right away and apply to switch as soon as possible. In Trinity, the last date to transfer is the 15 November, and I know of a girl who even switched from UCD to Trinity a month in after receiving a third round offer to study there.

However, there is also something absolutely essential to know about Junior Freshman modules. As they are frequently only courses to offer you a basic grounding in a particular subject, oftentimes they can be curiously unconnected to your actual subject. For instance, all business students in Trinity are forced to take introduction modules in economics, politics, sociology and maths. And after completing some of those crash courses, I can safely say I will never remotely understand any of the economic principles our lecturer indoctrinated us with.

So please do not have a nervous breakdown if you don’t either. The truth is that academically, Junior Freshman year is really pretty dull. Plus, even if you choose in the end to see the course through, like me, don’t forget that as early as second year you can start dropping modules you despise and specialise in modules that you will actually begin to love. In fact in arts courses, you end up dropping an entire subject for your final year anyway. (Ádios amigos…) The most important thing is: You’re not stuck with the subject you’re offered and you don’t have to be.